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Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Dec. 6

Let's get to it:

LUNA SMITH FROM CHARLOTTE, NC: Am I overreacting or is George Pickens displaying an attitude problem? I understand his frustration, but when a player in a close game goes to the sideline yelling, "Throw me the ball," I'm reminded of a former wide receiver who at least had accomplished a lot.
ANSWER: With all due respect, I don't believe you understand George Pickens' frustration at all. And before I get into that aspect, let me explain to you that if you think Pickens was loud and possibly profane while he was yelling coming off the field, you should have heard me while I was watching the game, a game the Steelers very much were in danger of squandering because of an inexplicable aversion to utilizing the best offensive weapon on their roster. The first two players I ever heard complain publicly about not getting the ball enough were Franco Harris and John Stallworth, and neither of them ever would be accused of having an attitude problem. Sunday's game was played in Atlanta, and because he grew up in Hoover, Alabama, and played his college football in Athens at the University of Georgia, I'm guessing there were friends and family members in the stands to watch him play. On a day when Diontae Johnson dropped a ball on a third-and-11 that likely would've resulted in a conversion, and then didn't secure the ball on another pass thrown to him that initially was ruled a fumble but later overturned to an incomplete pass, Pickens deserved to be targeted more than twice. By the way, Johnson was targeted 11 times and finished the game with five catches for 60 yards.

JOHN REEHER FROM YORK, SC: In the Falcons game, I was really disappointed to see the antics of George Pickens. Is he the prima donna he showed? Did the Steelers draft another Antonio Brown mess?
ANSWER: If you read the above submission, you know I'm on George Pickens' side when it comes to this issue. Additionally, I believe Pickens has shown remarkable restraint through the first dozen games of this regular season, because in my mind there is no justifiable reason why Diontae Johnson has been targeted 96 times so far this season while Pickens has been targeted 60 times. I watched every play of every practice at Saint Vincent College, and there is no doubt who is the most dynamic receiver on the Steelers' roster. I get that Pickens is a rookie and may need more seasoning and experience, but that doesn't change the fact he's the most dynamic receiver on the roster. And I'm no expert, but I would think an offense that currently ranks in the bottom third in the NFL in passing yards per game, red zone offense, and points per game might have an interest in getting the football to the most dynamic receiver on the roster.

THOMAS WARD FROM LADSON, SC: Why in the world would you draft a playmaker like George Pickens and not throw him the ball? He used much stronger language on Sunday, and rightfully so. Why won't the offensive coordinator design more plays to get him the ball?
ANSWER: Maybe you could talk some sense into Luna and John.

KEVIN WALTERMIRE FROM HAMPTON, VA: Did John Madden really never coach in Three Rivers Stadium again, after the Immaculate Reception?
ANSWER: What? John Madden coached the Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, and games in that series were played in Pittsburgh in 1974, in the 1975 AFC Championship Game, and in 1977. Since the Steelers played their home games in the 1970s in Three Rivers Stadium, and Madden was the Raiders head coach, I'm certain he accompanied his team for those games. In fact, I know he coached the 1975 AFC Championship Game at Three Rivers Stadium, because he never stopped whining about that one, either.

GEORGE THOMAS FROM OCALA, FL: Do you know how Malik Willis is doing thus far in his rookie season? So many people, me included, thought the Steelers made a big mistake by not drafting him. It looks like many people, me included, are wrong so far.
ANSWER: Malik Willis, the quarterback from Liberty who was drafted in the third round by Tennessee, has started two games this season when Ryan Tannehill was injured. In a 17-10 win over Houston, he completed 6-of-10 for 55 yards, with no touchdowns, 1 interception, and a rating of 35.2. The next week, in a 20-17 loss to Kansas City, he completed 5-of-16 for 80 yards, with no touchdowns, no interceptions, and a rating of 49.0. Willis has appeared in six games so far, and in those games, he has completed 14-of-34 (41.2 percent) for 157 yards, with no touchdowns, 1 interception, and a rating of 43.4. Willis also has rushed for 72 yards on 19 carries (3.8 average).

ERIC HUTTINGER FROM BEAVERCREEK, OH: Deshea Townsend was always one of my favorite Steelers. Do you know what he has been up to since retirement?
ANSWER: Deshea Townsend's playing career ended after he spent one year in Indianapolis in 2010, and then he got right into coaching. He was the defensive backs coach for the Arizona Cardinals in 2011-12; the cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State from 2013-15; the defensive backs coach for the Tennessee Titans in 2016-17; the assistant defensive backs coach for the New York Giants in 2018; the secondary coach for the Chicago Bears from 2019-21; and in 2022 he was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars as a passing game coordinator/cornerbacks coach.

PETE ALBERTINI FROM NEW CASTLE, PA: Do the Steelers have any interest in quarterback Josh Dobbs, who was recently cut by the Browns?
ANSWER: I cannot imagine that they would.

GENE GREY FROM MORENO VALLEY, CA: I really liked the pick of Kendrick Green in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, not just because of his college success but because of his wrestling background. Does Green a future with the Steelers?
ANSWER: Kendrick Green was a three-sport star at Peoria High School – football, wrestling, and baseball – and right now he is the last offensive lineman on the 53-man roster, which is why he is on the inactive list each week. Beyond the 2022 season, I have no idea what the Steelers' plans are for Green.

ED GOTT FROM LIGONIER, PA: I always get confused when a player goes out of bounds and the referee does not stop the clock. In other cases, such as the final minutes of the game, the clock stops on all the out of bounds situations. Can you clarify what the rules are about clock stoppages?
ANSWER: On out of bounds plays, the clock only stops on such plays that happen in the final 2 minutes of the first half, and then during the final 5 minutes of the second half.

DENNY BRADLEY FROM TOLEDO, OH: Am I wrong in remembering that Preston Pearson played basketball in college, not football? He certainly played during the Super Bowl era.
ANSWER: You are not wrong, because Preston Pearson played basketball at the University of Illinois. I was wrong for not including him in my answer to the question about Steelers who didn't play college football.